Tha Alkaholiks :: X.O. the Movie Experience
Video: Fortress DVD
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon
With the increasing popularity of the DVD format and decreasing cost to the
consumer to acquire discs and players, it was inevitable that hip-hop DVD's
would start to blow up.
Of course the question that inevitably leads to is "What constitutes a
hip-hop DVD?" On the one hand any movie that's predominantly about hip-hop
can be if converted to the CD sized discs: "Krush Groove", "Wild Style" and
"Breakin'" among others. Another form of hip-hop DVD is a collection of
music videos by one rap artist, group, or record label. In fact, DVD
"singles" such as Wu-Tang Clan's "The W: Volume 1" will be increasingly
popular in the future due to the fact that for only a dollar more than
most CD singles they offer twice as much bang for the buck: audio AND video.
What is emerging in the 21st century though is a hip-hop DVD in a format
not seen since Public Enemy's "Tour of a Black Planet" videotape. Part
music video, part artist biography, part live tour footage, these DVD's
take an old concept but package it in a way that will be instantly
appealing to hip-hop heads. Think of it this way - what's the one thing
absolutely everybody hates about videotape? If there's one part of
your favorite movie, one favorite video you taped, or one favorite
episode of your favorite show you want to see it takes FOREVER to
rewind or fast forward to that one spot. Not only that, it's damn near
impossible to hit it dead on - you take a shot in the dark and then hit
play to scan through the tape when you THINK you're close.
With DVD, those days are long gone. One of the most instantly enjoyable
aspects of Tha Alkaholiks DVD "X.O. the Movie Experience" is the fact that
the disc is split into 36 "Chapters" which are akin to "tracks" on a
typical compact disc. How you select chapters depends on the type
of DVD player you have, but from the title menu you can pull up a
"scene selection" and instantly skip to any part of this release. Want
to see Tha Liks perform "Daaam!" live? Chapter 4. How about the
making of the "Best U Can" video? Chapter 15. Spend a day in the
life of J-Ro? Chapter 20. The technology is easy to take for granted,
but playing with this DVD makes me wish those old Public Enemy videotapes
would be remastered and coded to disc because it's SO much easier.
Although the convenience of the DVD format alone makes the experience
enjoyable, it's content that matters the most. If you follow the
content of "X.O. the Movie Experience" sequentially from start to
finish, the experience at hand is an Alkaholiks concert with extra
material of Tha Liks having fun, recording tracks, or clowning for
the cameras spliced in. There's no "plot" other than that, and don't
expect a narrator or an omnipotent voice to comment from on far about
the hijinks contained within. In fact, this DVD is about as uncut
as you can get - you'll see prodigious amounts of alcohol and weed
consumed throughout and endless shots of breasts being uncovered
or shown off for the cameras. So much T&A is displayed during
the "Snoop Dogg Tour" footage alone (which doubles as a homemade
video for Tha Liks "My Dear" w/ Defari) that it could actually
double for a porno movie!
Obviously this release is meant to appeal greatly to people who
have been down with Tha Alkaholiks since "Make Room" and "Only
When I'm Drunk" and it succeeds brilliantly here. For anybody who
has never had the pleasure of seeing Tha Liks live (or lives in
a backwards minded city who won't let them be booked at any club)
the DVD captures the excitement and insanity of their performance
to the fullest. Tha Liks are that back to the roots type of group
that doesn't believe in pyrotechnics or DAT's - they just hype up
the crowd with their own energetic show. For me the extras are
just as entertaining if not moreso. Chapter 6's "Studio With
Xzibit" feature has E-Swift performing camera duties while
X to the Z is actually penning his lyrics for Tha Liks song "Bar
Code" and then subequently recording his vocals. Multiple takes
of the session are run during his actual rap - flipping seamlessly
from him shots of him in the vocal booth to standing outside
the studio practicing or rapping along to the song post-production.
The description doesn't nearly do it justice, but rest assured
that it's TIGHT fo' sho'!
The "bonus" features not in the movie itself are not bad - in
fact it includes the low-budget and VERY sexually explicit
video that Tash filmed for the song "Anotha Round." The video
actually shows some good directing potential and probably could
have aired on BET or MTV minus the blatantly pornographic scenes
strewn throughout - but for home video only it's good clean fun..
well maybe not so clean, but still fun! A Likwid Crew freestyle
is included, as well as a concert rehearsal for the song "Bar
Code." The only pointless extra is a shot of Tha Liks showing
off their b-ball skills (or lack thereof) to a beat much like
the infamous Nike commercial produced by Afrika Bambaata. I
can't prove it of course, but it looks to me like the segment
was shot in front of a blue screen and superimposed over video
of a real basketball court. Either way, not worth the time.
If anything about this DVD can be said to be dissapointing,
it's that Tha Alkaholiks couldn't or didn't include any of
their actually aired music videos to date, such as "Daaam!"
or "Best U Can." My theory is that Loud Records owns the
rights to these music videos and that even if they wanted
to include them on this release the label wouldn't allow it.
I suspect at a later date they will sell a DVD akin to the
Arista release of Run-D.M.C.'s "Together Forever" which
compiles all of the videos together with a few extras thrown in.
This DVD succeeds at it's primary goal though - capturing the
manic and often drunken energy of Tha Alkaholiks which fuels
the entertainment of their CD's and tour performances. Casual
fans will want to rent it, diehard fans will want to own it,
and hip-hop heads in general who aren't familiar with Tha Liks
owe it to themselves to see it at least once.
Content: 7 of 10
Fun Factor: 8 of 10
TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10
Originally posted: November 13, 2001